Concerns for new bus route as pensioners feel stranded

Carole Molloy, left, and Valerie Pemberton are unhappy about the new number 12 bus in Littlehampton. They are pictured outside Valerie's flats in Fitzalan Road, Littlehampton. Picture: Derek Martin
Carole Molloy, left, and Valerie Pemberton are unhappy about the new number 12 bus in Littlehampton. They are pictured outside Valerie's flats in Fitzalan Road, Littlehampton. Picture: Derek Martin

A new bus route has been the subject of scrutiny, with some residents saying they have been cut off from supermarkets.

This comes as a Rustington Parish councillor confirmed plans to expand the service.

We aren’t all blessed with the money to buy a car

Carole Molloy

The former number 12 bus has been replaced by the number 15 route.

Funded by the developers of Courtwick and North Littlehampton and the town council, the new bus will link these developments with the main amenities in the town.

But some residents who used the old bus to go to Sainsbury’s in Rustington or Tesco in Littlehampton can no longer get to the supermarkets.

Valerie Pemberton, 79, from Oaklands Court in Fitzalan Road, Littlehampton, criticised the town council for the route. She said: “Why do they take it out on older people? I have worked hard all my life. It annoys me. This bus is only a small thing, but it really affects us.”

The former mayoress, originally from High Crompton in Oldham, near Manchester, used the number 12 bus several times a week to do her shopping. Now, she has to get a taxi to get to Sainsbury’s or Tesco.

She said: “Councillors should get off their high horses and have a look at what is going on.”

Carole Molloy, 66, of Norfolk Gardens, Littlehampton, has also been affected. She wrote to Tesco and Sainsbury’s asking them to help fund an expanded route, but has not heard back from them. She said: “We aren’t all blessed with the money to buy a car.”

Town councillor Derrick Chester, planning and transportation committee vice chairman, said the old route ended as it was funded by money from Morrisons in Wick and Tesco which has now run out.

The town council made a ‘significant contribution’ to the developer’s funding to make sure the bus would run for five years.

But to expand the route would mean two buses and two drivers, doubling the cost. In an open letter, Mr Chester said: “We will try to deliver the best service we can for local residents balanced against achieving best value from our council budget.”

Andy Cooper, Rustington parish councillor, Arun district councillor and chairman of the Rustington Chamber of Trade, said an expansion of the bus service was ‘on the cards’ to link Rustington and Littlehampton.

He said: “We are working very hard to ensure if there is a gap in the bus service it is as small as possible.”

Chris Chatfield, managing director of Compass Travel which runs the bus service, said: “We are very happy to expand and put on a second bus, but it would need to be funded otherwise it is not viable.

“I have sympathy with people who want to go to the supermarkets but we can only do what is in our contract.”

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